April 23, 2020
Kenyon has temporarily adjusted its operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
Ruth Heindel is the Dorothy and Thomas Jegla Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Kenyon College. Prior to coming to Kenyon in 2020, Ruth earned her Ph.D. at Dartmouth College and completed a postdoc at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is an interdisciplinary earth scientist whose research focuses on biogeochemical cycling and wind-driven processes in cold regions.
During her Ph.D. and postdoc, Ruth conducted field research in Greenland, the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica and the Colorado Front Range. Her field-based approach combines methods from ecology, geomorphology and biogeochemistry to answer questions about the impact of changing climate and land use on sensitive alpine and polar ecosystems. At Kenyon, research efforts will include local projects looking at the atmospheric deposition of nutrients and particulate matter to Ohio ecosystems.
Polar environmental change, global dust cycle, soil science
2017 — Doctor of Philosophy from Dartmouth College
2010 — Bachelor of Science from Brown University
This course is an introduction to the field and laboratory techniques used in environmental science. Students will receive an overview of scientific and research methods, data handling and field techniques to assess water quality, soil characteristics and ecosystem composition and health. This is a community-engaged learning course: students will travel to a local farm (transportation provided by instructor) to assess the long-term environmental effects of switching from conventional to sustainable agricultural practices. This course counts toward the lab skills major requirement. This interdisciplinary course does not count toward the completion of any diversification requirement. Prerequisite: ENVS 112. Offered every fall semester.
Earth systems science is an integrated approach to studying the world in which we live. At the highest level, the four most basic interacting subsystems are: air (atmosphere), water (hydrosphere), land (geosphere) and life (biosphere). This course introduces students to the physical, chemical and biological processes of these major subsystems (and the interactions among them) by examining past and present states of the Earth system. Humans, as relatively late-coming members of the biosphere, are part of the overall Earth system, and we will examine our interactions within and among the subsystems at the level of the individual and of society. Lectures and laboratories on these broad topics will be supplemented by field trips to witness Earth's systems in context and by conversations with community members whose work is at the forefront of human interactions within the system. This course is required for the major.This interdisciplinary course does not count toward the completion of any diversification requirement. Prerequisite: ENVS 112. Offered every spring semester.
Climate change is the defining environmental issue for our time, permeating conversations about economics, human rights and international relations. In order to engage in these conversations, it is critical to have a solid understanding of Earth’s climate system and how humans are altering it. We will begin by examining the natural state of Earth’s climate system and the factors that have caused past climate variability. We will investigate how humans have altered the climate system as well as some of the most significant impacts of anthropogenic warming. We will end with a discussion of some proposed science-based approaches to mitigating climate change. Prerequisite: ENVS 112 and 220 or MATH 258, or permission of the instructor. Offered every other year.
Heindel, RC, Governali, FC, Spickard, AM, & Virginia, RA, 2019. "The role of biological soil crusts in nitrogen cycling and soil stabilization in West Greenland." Ecosystems 22(2): 243-256.
Heindel, RC, Lyons, WB, Welch, SA, Spickard, AM & Virginia, RA, 2018. "Biogeochemical weathering of soil apatite grains in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica." Geoderma 320: 136-145. doi: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2018.01.027
Heindel, RC, Chipman, JW, Dietrich, JT, & Virginia, RA, 2018. "Quantifying rates of soil deflation with Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry in West Greenland." Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 50(1): SI00012. doi: 10.1080/15230430.2017.1415852.
Heindel, RC, Spickard, AM, & Virginia, RA, 2017. "Landscape-scale soil phosphorus availability in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica." Antarctic Science 29(3): 252-263. doi: 10.1017/S0954102016000742
Heindel, RC, Culler, LE, & Virginia, RA, 2017. "Rates and processes of aeolian soil erosion in West Greenland." The Holocene 27(9): 1281-1290. doi: 10.1177/0959683616687381
Heindel, RC, Chipman, JW, & Virginia, RA, 2015. "The spatial distribution and ecological impacts of aeolian soil erosion in Kangerlussuaq, West Greenland." Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 105(5): 875-890. doi: 10.1080/00045608.2015.1059176